Business West hoping its Great British food export platform tastes success in global Chamber awards

September 26, 2021

A scheme originally set up by regional group Business West to help food firms from across the South West sell abroad is competing for a prestigious international award.

The online platform’s aim was initially to close the exporting gap with other UK regions. 

Now rebranded as The Great British Food Programme, it has evolved to allow businesses from across the UK raise their international profile by showcasing their products digitally, while enabling them to sign up to key industry events and support schemes.

Over the 18 months since the pandemic started, the programme has facilitated more than 1,700 virtual meetings and interactions between UK exporters and international buyers, working with 700-plus UK food and drink producers and 226 international buyers.

As a result, 2,700 UK products are now being showcased across the world.

The team also facilitated high-value export contracts to 29 countries, leading to tens of millions of pounds worth of sales for food and drink businesses based in the South West of England alone.

Its success has earned it a place in the final of the 2021 World Chambers Competition in Dubai in November, where it will compete in the Best Digital Project category. 

Recognising the most innovative projects undertaken by chambers of commerce and industry, the World Chambers Competition is a biennial event organised by International Chamber of Commerce and World Chambers Federation.

Some 78 applications were received from 33 countries, with just four shortlisted for Best Digital Project. Lining up against Business West, which also runs the Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative, will be finalists from Chile, Germany and Peru.

Business West hopes to repeat its success of four years ago at the same awards when it was named as the world’s best chamber for its International Trade Centre export development programme.

Business West commercial director James Monk, who attended those awards in Sydney, pictured, said: “It is fantastic to be recognised globally for our international trade activity, this innovative solution has come into its own during the pandemic, facilitating trade, whilst minimising the need to meet face to face or travel.

“We are hugely grateful to the UK food and drink companies who have chosen to promote their products on our platform together with the overseas buyers that have engaged with and purchase products through it.

“The support and enthusiasm behind the programme have been outstanding. Undoubtedly it has boosted the South West’s exports, creating more prosperity for the region, levelling-up in action.”

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